27.03.17

I thought Monday 27th March 2017, was just like any other day, but oh how wrong I was!!! 27.03.17/03.27.13 actually marked the first ever Muslim Women’s Day…whaat I couldn’t believe my eyes!!! A day that celebrates the achievements of muslim women and places them at the forefront…could not have come at a better time 🙂

The brains behind this awesome campaign came from MuslimGirlwhich is a new favourite website of mine. Even though “muslim” women are the target audience, the website is great because it discusses a variety of contemporary issues that are relatable to all women.

Thanks to MuslimGirl, I discovered the artist/poet, Mona Hayder whose song Hijabi (Wrap my hijab) was released on the 27.03.17. When I gave it a listen, I loved everything about it from the lyrics, to the background music and the way Mona raps over a slick beat. The song is very much a pro-hijab anthem which champions the women who choose to wear the religious veil. It is also unashamedly feminist with lyrics like, “Make a feminist planet, women haters get banished, covered up or not don’t ever take us for granted.”

Despite what people might think about the hijab or what it represents, Mona makes it clear that she will still continue to wear her headscarf.

“What that hair look like, bet that hair look nice? How long your hair is, you need to get yo life…”

“So even if you hate it, I still wrap my hijab, wrap my hijab, wrap my hijab…”

The hijab is like the dress code for muslim women and it symbolises modesty, obedience and faith not oppression and lack of freedom…so please don’t get it twisted.

I have so much admiration and respect for those who choose to wear the hijab because by doing so, people automatically know what religion they practise. It’s like wearing a T-shirt that says, “Look at me, I am a muslim.”

In our current climate, muslims are unfortunately paying the price for the actions of a minority. Muslims are being branded as “terrorists” and face being assaulted by those who actually believe this to be true…For this reason, I have even more respect for the women who choose to “wrap their hijabs” before leaving their homes.

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Mona Haydar – Hijabi (Wrap my Hijab)

 

New Music Round-Up

I think its been 3 or 4 months since I last posted in my blog and I genuinely feel so bad about this 😦 The reason why my posts have been so thin on the ground lately is because I am currently doing a Master’s degree at university…Yep, I have returned back to the days of being a student and the stress of “oh” so many deadlines and assignments. I’m not gonna lie but this Master’s is really taking it out of me!!!

Anyway in the months that I have been absent, I have still managed to hear plenty of brand, new music. Therefore, in this post I am just going to round-up all the new music that I have listened to in the last few months (below):

  1. Fenech-Soler- Cold Light– The electro-disco group recently released third album, “Zilla” which features the song Cold Light. For a little while, I was not too sure about what I thought of the track because it sounded quite different from their other songs. However once I got over that minor detail, the song grew into an absolute favourite of mine 🙂
  2. Gallant, Tablo, Eric NamCave Me In – The three artists are all incredible on this dreamy RnB track. I would love to see them collaberate on another song together or possibly form a boy-band 😉 (just kidding, not kidding)
  3. Will HeardI Better Love You– This song is from his new EP (Trust). After lending his vocals to songs with Rudimental and Tourist. I’m glad that he is now releasing his own music and people seem to be loving it!!!
  4. Zak AbelUnstable– Another great song from an artist that deserves way more attention at the moment.
  5.  DJ Fresh vs. DiploBang Bang (R City, Selah Sue & Craig David)– The song features several different artists, however it was Selah Sue’s smoky vocals that stood out for me. It was music magazine, The Fly (sadly closed for business in 2014) which first got me hooked on Selah Sue’s music after they noted her song, “Raggamuffin” for recommended listening. I don’t know how many people know of the Belgian artist but I’m sure collaborations with huge artists like DJ Fresh and Major Laser will certainly earn her more fans!!!
  6. M.ONot In Love– I don’t have enough fingers to count the number of fantastic tracks that this female trio have brought out 🙂
  7.  JP CooperSeptember Song– His live vocals are raw, soulful and mesmerising, I can’t believe I am only just hearing about this guy 😉 #Exceptional talent
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Selah Sue

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Zak Abel

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M.O

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Tablo, Gallant & Eric Nam

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JP Cooper

Do not get in the way of Gallant and his McFlurry

I got to know about Gallant, after hearing his song, “Talking to Myself” which was played regularly on the radio. Every time it was played on the radio, I grew more and more interested in the man behind those irresistible and gorgeous vocals. Initially, I thought I was listening to Tyler James, who was a promising contestant on the Voice UK, however it seems that he has taken a step back from the world of music. The last song, I heard from him was “Worry About You” featuring Kano.

Gallant is an artist that has gotten to where he is by working hard and mastering his craft, especially his falsetto. His falsetto is out of this world!!!

Gallant the interviewee vs. Gallant the performer

In interviews, Gallant comes across as a very chilled-out guy, however put him on a stage to sing and he becomes this animated and electric performer. It is like the music brings him to life!!!

I love the quality of his voice, I could listen to it all day and hope it will continue to carry him far and bring him further success in the coming year!!!

All that I have left to say is that he has got one of the best voices around at the moment and also please check out the video below, where he explains why he chose to leave New York for Los Angeles. And like many decisions in life, food always plays a vital role… aye. In Gallant’s case, it was to do with a McFlurry 😉

 

That’s My Girl!!!

Fifth Harmony have brought out a number of singles following their departure from the X-Factor USA in 2012. However, the first song by them to be played on UK radio stations was “Worth It” in 2015, which quickly became a breakout hit and rose to number #3 in the charts.

They have released plenty of catchy songs but I would have to say that out of those, there are probably three songs that I would class as my absolute favourites and would happily play on REPEAT!!! These are “Worth It“, “Boss” and “That’s My Girl.” Their latest offering, “That’s My Girl” is a track that I’m obsessed with at the moment. I love the pre-chorus (sang by Normani) because of its fast-tempo and melody and also the chorus which is so lively and loud 😉

[Destiny said it, you got to get up and get it
Get mad independent and don’t you ever forget it
Got some dirt on your shoulder
Then let me brush it off for ya
If you’re feeling me, put your five high
That’s my girl]

GIRL POWER XxX

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Fifth Harmony

She’s charged up, she’s getting activated

It has been no secret that Cher Lloyd (X-Factor alumnus) has been working hard in the studio and creating new music for some time now. Therefore, it was really exciting when we finally got to hear the fruits of that labour, when she dropped the song, “Activated” in the summer. The first time I listened to it, I thought it was okay, but after giving it a few more listens it has grown into a song that I really like!!!

The chorus is the best part of the song, especially when she sings “When I do the damn thing, just watch me.” It sounds really cool and fresh and the beat makes it impossible to sit/stand still.

Cher Lloyd has a distinctive voice that is very much her own and her audition on the X-Factor is one that I will never forget. It sticks in my mind because she sounded like nothing I had ever heard before on the show and her choice of song was so unexpected. (Turn My Swag On)

Miss Lloyd has been very successful in America, whereas in the UK she is still paying the price for mistakes that she made when she was younger. It is a shame because we have a talented singer on our doorstep who is being over-looked for all the wrong reasons.

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Cher Lloyd

 

The real talent of the X-Factor

Since its inception, I have managed to watch nearly all the seasons of the X-Factor (I think there were 3 seasons that I definitely missed). The singing, talent show has been on our screens for 12 years and in that time the judging panel, the presenters and the format of the show have gone through various changes. In my opinion, the quality of the X-Factor has dipped in recent years because I sometimes feel that I’m watching a rehearsed reality show rather than a singing competition.

However the X-Factor is a great platform for aspiring musicians and many talented singers have made it onto the show such as Ella Henderson, James Arthur, Cher Lloyd & Rebecca Ferguson. Even though, some people like to criticise the X-Factor, I disagree with those who slate truly incredible artists just because they started out on the programme. Or say they can’t sing live, when they blatantly can and have proved it by singing live, week in and week out on the X-Factor!!!

I was so happy when James Arthur won the X-Factor in 2012, because his voice is exceptional and he pours so much pain and emotion into every note that he sings. He recently brought out new single “Say You Won’t Let Go” which is the first piece of new music that I’ve heard from him in such a loooooong time. After three years of silence, this song re-introduced me to the artist whose voice always left an impression on me, when singing on the X-Factor.

Trust me, James Arthur’s vocals are a pretty big deal- check out his cover of Emeli Sande’s “Hurts” and Ariana Grande’s “Into You.”

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James Arthur

 

My Love is a Kaleidoscope

Guess who’s back…back again…Fenech-Soler tell a friend 😉

Basically, I was just bopping around to some of their old music, when it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t checked in on them for awhile. So I did a quick YouTube search and discovered they had uploaded a new music video only three weeks ago!!!

The new song is called “Kaleidoscope” and after the first listen, it definitely got my seal of approval!!! Plus the music video is so cool…I think we have all crawled inside our duvets expecting to find Narnia or some kind of lost city. In the music video for “Kaleidoscope”, the main protagonist does just that and finds herself in a huge duvet den!!! (after some free-falling inside her bed-sheets may I add)

Fenech-Soler have returned on top form, however they have not returned with the complete line-up. It seems that the four-piece has now halved in size as Daniel Fenech-Soler (bass/keyboard) and Andrew Lindsay (drums) have left the band. Leaving the two “Duffy” brothers as the current members  😉

I hope that going forward, the band will continue to gain more recognition because they create fantastic music. I know they are doing great because they have many supporters and are constantly touring all over the world, however I do wish that more of their tracks were played on the radio 🙂 I remember,”Last Forever”- the toe-tappingly, good song from second album, “Rituals” was played everywhere when it was released in 2012/13.

For the people who have never heard of Fenech-Soler then please check out songs like “Demons“, “Magnetic” & “Stop & Stare“.

After listening to their cover of Jessie J’s “Do It Like A Dude” back in 2011 and also reading an article, which put them inside the same bracket as Friendly Fires and indie-disco … These were the only reasons I needed to check out more of their music and 5 years down the line I’m so glad I did 🙂

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Fenech- Soler

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Fenech- Soler

Yuna @ Scala

On Tuesday 20th September, Malaysian artist, Yuna will be taking to the stage to perform at SCALA in London. The good news is that I have tickets to this show and the bad news is that I won’t be able to go 😦 So basically, it is just really bad news!!! However, I am happy that she will be in the UK and for the people lucky enough to see her live.

I don’t know how, but somehow Yuna and her music seem to have flown under the radar in the UK. Compared to our neighbours across the pond, they have known about her for much longer and have embraced Yuna like one of their own artists. In America, her songs have done very well and she has also collaborated with many musicians such as Pharrell Williams, The Internet, Kitty Cash, Owl City and Usher.

At the moment, she is currently touring, to promote the release of her latest album, “Chapters”, which seems to include tracks that explore more mature themes and that fall into the realms of RnB and even old school Hip-Hop. Please check out “Places To Go” and it will all make sense!!!

When listening to her earlier music, there were already clues that indicated that her delicate and relaxing voice would suit many different genres. Similarly, I thought the same thing about Demi Lovato whose first two albums were primarily “pop-rock.” Fast forward to the present day and we all know that Miss Lovato has an impressive vocal range and can sing in a variety of styles. E.g. rock, gospel, RnB and blues.

It is sad that I will be missing the only UK show that Yuna had on this particular tour…however here’s to hoping that she will return to the UK soon so that I can experience her songs live!!!

 

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Yuna

 

I Just Want to Live

Lorine Chia’s “I Just Want to Live” is a poignant song about the police brutality that is happening in America.

The music video is a sombre, black-and-white animation, although it does feature some colour. The police car’s flashing lights, the bouquet of flowers left at a vigil and even the shade of lipstick worn by the female protagonist (Lorine Chia) all appear in either red or blue.

In the video it cuts to a young, black man who is running away from a police car. When the vehicle catches up with him, the police officer gets out of the car to confront the man. His gun is drawn. The man holds up both hands but the officer shows no mercy and shoots him. Falling to the ground, one can only assume that the man has been seriously injured or is dead. But why did the officer fire his weapon? Was it an act of self-defense? Did the other man have a weapon too? Sadly, this scene is not too dissimilar from some of the cases that have been recently reported on the news.

In the chorus, Lorine Chia sings the line, “I just want to live” which sounds like it is a plea to the law-enforcers who are harshly targeting people for just living their ordinary lives. When was it a crime to hang out with friends or to buy something from a shop?

Please check out Lorine Chia’s other tracks such as, “Fly High“, “Lost in my Mind” and “Eve’s Perspective.”

Quote from Lorine Chia, “As Nina Simone once said it is our duty as artists to reflect the times. I saw the “State of Grace” video by Talib Kweli and instantly got inspired. I knew Dreambear was the team to help me with this one. Dani is an such amazing artist. I wanted to showcase our present times. I live in constant fear that I or someone close to me could be the next victim of police brutality or racial profiling and all I want to do is just live.” 

 

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Lorine Chia

 

 

Travis Garland mashes it up with Drake/Kevin Lyttle

Hi guys, sorry it has been TWO MONTHS since my last post!!! Time has just flown by but I will try my best to make up for all the lost time 😉

This is my second time writing about Travis Garland…in my first post I mentioned how he started out in boy-band, NLT before going it alone as a solo artist. I also spoke about his original music and spectacular covers…please check out his rendition of Tori Kelly’s “Should’ve Been Us” and you will be blown away. Staying on the topic of covers, Travis Garland has done a Drake/Kevin Lyttle mash-up. But before I tell you how amazing it is, I first want to dissect the term “Mash-Up.”

…Combining two completely different songs together is definitely not a new thing but I feel like the term “Mash-Up” is!!! I’m not sure whether the people behind the TV show, Glee coined the term but I do think the show inspired more artists to perform mash-up covers as they soon popped up everywhere 🙂

…Anyway so back to the Drake vs Kevin Lyttle mash-up which may be one of my favourite Garland-esque covers to date. It includes Drake’s chart-topping hit “One Dance” and “Turn Me On” by Kevin Lyttle. I really like One Dance because it samples the 2008 track, “Do You Mind” by Kyla. This song takes me back to when I was in high school and I probably first heard it on a music channel. And “Turn Me On” by Kevin Lyttle is a tune that I will never get sick of hearing. When the cover transitioned from Drake to Kevin Lyttle and Garland sang the line “For the longest while we jamming in the party…”I immediately got up and started a little one-woman party in my bedroom: winding and circling my hips because it seemed appropriate. And my limbs couldn’t contain their excitement either!!!

What I like about Travis Garland’s covers is that he puts his own spin on them and gives them a moody and edgy sound.

Another artist that has made a name for himself by doing covers is Conor Maynard!!! He recently did a cover of Panda by Atlantic rapper, Desiigner. I was a bit dubious at how he was going to approach this cover as he is not known for his rapping skillz. However he made it work in his own way.